Can A Democratic Government Exist on Mars?

This post is part of an on-going series. See the other posts here. The British Interplanetary Society sat down last year in a dingy room in London and decided the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights were the best documents to guide the governance of a colony on Mars. Conference delegates decide that having […]

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The Scary Political Logic of Colonizing Mars

Nuclear Terraforming? In all the fervor about water on Mars and building colonies there, I have been digging through the literature about living on Mars, from non-fiction accounts of the engineering required, to speculation about how such places might work, to science fiction about what those colonies could become. And I’m left with a conclusion […]

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Who Picks Up the Trash on Mars?

Public interest in and excitement about space colonization seems to be peaking: first with all the latest hype about space travel, and last week with the discovery of liquid water on Mars. But as exciting as this news is, there are much bigger issues to deal with when we think about what it would require […]

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A Red Mars Revival

Let us celebrate with amazement the discovery of liquid water — of a sort — on Mars! This is a dream come true for so many who want to build a colony on the Red Planet. And indeed, the idea of water — even water with so much perchlorate in it that it becomes antifreeze […]

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A World Of Infinite Paper Clips

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald raises a common apocalyptic thought experiment about artificial intelligence and machines that is worth considering: Of all the reasons robots might rise up and destroy humanity, making paper clips is not an obvious one. But the popular theory goes that an artificially intelligent machine programmed to produce as many paper […]

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On Treating Tools as Utilitarian Objects

There is a growing consensus among western computer researchers, technologists, celebrity intellectuals, and pundits, about the ethics and morals of creating artificial intelligence. One of the technical voices leading the charge (as opposed to entrepreneurs and celebrity physicists) is artificial intelligence pioneer Stuart Russell, who recently issued a call for computers to be “provably aligned” with […]

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The Post-Employment Economy Is Permanent

Discussing the worsening economic prospects for people under the age of 35 or so has been an occasional topic on this blog. I’ve discussed the post-employment economy, how the last twenty years of wage (non)growth and corporate excess have essentially transferred massive amounts of wealth from the working class to the extremely wealthy, and how […]

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The Future and Its Discontents

Evgeny Morozov has what can only be called another Morozovian review of some high-minded utopia book in the New Republic. This time, rather than turning his attention on the intellectual scourge of Parag Khanna’s TED Talk, he turns his attention to something a bit more familiar to all of us: Google. Specifically, Morozov reviews the new […]

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